New York Poised to Restore Beer Tax Provision

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With the announcement that Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders have reached an agreement on legislation that will keep New York’s craft brewing industry competitive, hopes are high that the legislation will receive immediate consideration before the close of the legislative session next week.

Under the provisions of companion bills A10695 and S7728, any brewery that produces 60 million or less gallons of beer in New York would be eligible for a refundable tax credit applied against New York State personal income and business taxes. The credit amounts would be 14 cents per gallon for the first 500,000 gallons produced in New York, and 4.5 cents per gallon for the next 15 million gallons produced in the State.  Both in-state and out-of-state brewers with an annual production of less than 1,500 barrels would also be exempt from the fees associated with brand label registration.

The agreement comes in the wake of a recent court settlement by the state that struck down an excise tax exemption granted for the first 200,000 barrels of beer produced in New York.  This unexpected and significant tax burden would have had a serious impact on the ability of these small businesses to add jobs, expand and keep prices down.  The settlement also invalidated an exemption from paying brand label registration fees ($150 per label) if a brewer’s production was below 1,500 barrels.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have clearly recognized the contribution the craft brewing industry is making to revive the state’s economy, create jobs and demonstrate that New York is indeed ‘Open for Business,’” says David Katleski, New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) president and owner of Empire Brewing, in a statement on the NYSBA website.  “The deal announced by the Governor and legislative leaders gives us the help we need to continue to add jobs and keep prices down for our loyal customers.”

The NYSBA reports that in the past decade New York’s craft beer industry has nearly doubled in size and contributes the following:

  • $200 million in sales to the New York state economy
  • ~ 3,000 direct jobs 
  • Nearly 100,000 indirect jobs (when positions that rely on this industry such as wholesalers, retailers and suppliers are included).

On June 10, The Brewers Association put the call out to New York beer enthusiasts and homebrewers through its Support Your Local Brewery (SYLB) network to support New York small brewer-backed legislation S. 7344 and A. 10181, both of which addressed the tax credit issue and provided the foundation from which the current agreement was reached.  SYLB members were asked to phone and email Assembly Speaker Silver, Senate Majority Leader Skelos, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, in addition to the Assembly Member and Senator for their own district. The message spread quickly, contacts were made and awareness of the issue was raised.

Congratulations to New York’s small brewers for successfully educating their elected officials on the importance and significant economic impact of the state’s brewing community.